Media, Technology, and Education

Wii Streaming

A few months ago, Liz bought a Roku so that she could stream Netflix content to her television.  She complained slightly about the $80 price tag for a device that can only do one thing.  But overall, she has been very happy with the Roku.  Netflix has been pushing its users to watch content instantly, without the need for the shipping of a DVD.  Watching instantly is really a win-win situation.  We content consumers win because we don’t have to wait for the US Mail to deliver our DVDs to us and then back to Netflix when we’re done.  It’s a big win for Netflix if we watch instantly because shipping costs have made the company the largest customer of the US Postal Service.  If we watch instantly, no DVD needs to be shipped and therefore, Netflix saves that postage cost.  I’ve watched some content directly on my laptop but I don’t find it as compelling as watching the content on my TV.  But I also didn’t want to spend money on another stand-alone electronic device.

Netflix has the answer!  They have recently sent me a DVD to put into my Wii (which I already own as those of you who have laughed at my Wii injury know) so that I can access my Netflix queue via the Wii.  I set everything up this afternoon, which was amazingly easy. Within a few minutes, Iwatched my first instant content in all its surround-sound glory.  Set up might take longer if you don’t already have your Wii connected to a wireless or wired network.  But if it’s already set up to automatically connect to your home network, the rest of the set up involves the simple insertion of the Netflix DVD into your Wii.  The content that I watched this afternoon suffered no network delays making it indistinguishable from watching on a DVD.  Actually, it might be better to watch instantly since I sometimes get DVDs from Netflix that are so scratched up and dirty that they are virtually unwatchable.  And the amount of content that is available for watching instantly is quite remarkable.

The only complaint I have about the experience so far is that navigating my Watch Instantly queue is a bit different than navigating through it on my computer.  It seems as though items should appear on the Wii in the same order that they appear on my computer but things looked different enough that I don’t think the order is the same.  But that’s a minor complaint since I haven’t really managed my Watch Instantly queue with the same attention to detail that I’ve used on my DVD queue.  Maybe that will change as I switch to using the Wii more often.

And, by the way, Happy Birthday, Liz!

Article written by:

I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in astrophotography, game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.


  1. Phil Lonergan, Art Department, Athletic Council

    My only complaint is that the “Watch Instantly” material is pretty bad. Yes, they have good nuggets in there, but most things I want to watch are not available yet. I can’t wait until they do away with the DVDs altogether and let all the content be available instantly. I would be interested to know the economic politics of the two separate kinds of availability, since I don’t really get it… Also, I have been frustrated by some films being taken OUT of my instant queue when they are dropped from the instant offerings (“Coraline” was available instantly, but by the time I got around to actually sitting down for it with Roo, it had been removedfrom the instant offerings). Wow, this is a long comment filled with nothing interesting. Once I had these bunnies, Fluffy and Duke, but they froze to death. I hope KK isn’t reading this. Mooooooonnnnntreeeeaaaallllllll…

  2. Dave

    I agree with you that streaming is ‘the way to go’ and from what I read recently regarding the Postal Service’s talk of potentially stopping Saturday delivery – Netflix shared that it would actually assist them becasue the savings on postage could allow them to invest more money in streaming content. (

    I decided on the Roku because I didn’t have another device that could stream Netflix. I contemplated a Blu-Ray DVD player for the purpose but I didn’t have a need to replace our current (perfectly good DVD player).

    The one thing that intrigues me about Roku is that it has other ‘channels’. Just a few weeks ago they announced two new channels….and beyond Netflix. I’ll admit there are only a handful of channels overall….and some are obscure but it sounds like their business plan may bring others.

    We have the very ‘basic’ cable package by choice (only 24 channels)….so Roku & Netflix was a great fit for us….and however people do it – yes, streaming has a lot of potential!

  3. Cathie LeBlanc

    I approved Phil’s comment even though I know it was written by an imposter. But the point that the imposter makes is a good one. The problem with the instant streaming content is with the owners of the content rather than with Netflix, I think. The owners haven’t quite figured out how to make money from streaming content and they are really paranoid that their content will be pirated so they make it ridiculously difficult to allow it to be streamed. Anyway, watch old TV and you’ll be happy with the streaming content. I watched the very first episode of Cagney and Lacey–it wasn’t very good but I really like Meg Foster and Tyne Daly so I was happy with it. Montreal!!!!!

  4. Robin DeRosa

    That shows me never to use Phil’s computer. Besides changing my identity, the computer also forced me to look at many pages of tool porn. Very disturbing.

  5. Robin DeRosa

    And remind me to tease you in a mean-spirited, offensive way about that Cagney and Lacey thing. -Dr. Robin Elizabeth Philip DeRosa

  6. Cathie LeBlanc

    I’m sure you will not need a reminder to tease me about anything. But I stand behind my love of Cagney and Lacey, Philip.

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